Friday night race: Miles over the moon

Salem Witch Museum

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
-Sarah Williams

My marathon training doesn’t leave too much room for races, but I managed to get a 4-miler in last Friday. This was the Miles over the Moon race in Salem, MA, an 8 PM race around a very historic city. When I first signed up, I was worried about how hot it might be since the race took place in mid-July. However, we have been having a bit of a cold spell this week, so it was comfortably in the 60’s during the race.

Salem Race Map

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to treat this race, since I knew I had a 10-mile training run the following morning. It was my first time doing a 4-mile race so any time I got would be a PR. ¬†When they announced the start, I tried hard to hold back my speed. I kept telling myself this was just a warm up run and not a real race. But it was hard with so many people in my running club competing in the same race. Eventually about 2 miles in, I was able to keep calm and not think about it. I just let the run take me along and I stopped worrying about what anyone else was doing. I was able to push myself just enough to feel satisfied with my first race in many weeks. Crossing the finish line, I ended up with a time of 35:34, which is pretty close to my usual 5K pace. Running a 4 mile race was tough at first because once you reach 3 miles, you come to the realization that you have to keep it going for one more mile. I was able to keep a consistent speed after mile 3, which gave me hope that my endurance was getting better after my running break this spring.

Streets of Salem

The course was pretty flat, with just a few slight uphills and downhills. It went through a few neighborhoods and streets in downtown Salem. We also ran around a very scenic area by the water known as Collins Cove. We passed it on the way out and on the way back and both times I wished I could take a photo, but obviously that was out of the question. The race ended at Salem Common and when I saw the park, I knew the end was near. It felt longer than expected running through the common, but finally I saw the red numbers of the time clock. I sprinted over the finish line, gasping for air. It felt good to race again, even though I knew I would pay for it the next day on my long run. The thought “Lori is going to kill me tomorrow if I can’t move my legs properly” came into my head more than once.

Finish line

I saw quite a few of my running club teammates cross the finish line. I even got a nice comment from one saying she was very happy following my pace. That felt really good – almost as good as my runner’s high. After the race, there was a small party at the Knights of Columbus which was perfect for getting away from the mosquitoes. This was definitely a fun race and it was a nice change racing on a Friday night. It was also a nice precursor to a night out, since it took place so close to the bars in downtown Salem. I would definitely consider doing this one again, even in normal sticky July temps.

Salem Common
Historic Salem Common in Massachusetts, where the race began & ended. Such a beautiful night for a race!

 

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